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Ramming BP Rockets with your hands?

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#1 OblivionFall

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:43 PM

Seeing as that Ned Gorski has a large 2" poly-kevlar-whatever-its-called barrier between him and his hydraulic presses when he's pressing rocket motors in case of the "accidental explosion", why doesn't he take similar precautions when ramming rockets by hand?  

  

Is there a risk involved when ramming black powder rockets by hand? Would a 1" rocket motor exploding in your hands not be devastating?

 

Ok take this, for example. I used my 3lb ball mill to make some shitty homemade aluminum powder a couple years ago as per this "Make military grade aluminum powder at home" youtube video.

 

Since then I've ran multiple things through it, including potassium nitrate, sulfur, etc. but nomatter what I do or how many times that I clean it out it, it still has this silvery "taint" of what I believe to be aluminum powder residue stuck in the rubber. Potassium nitrate that I mill through it often comes out with a slight "grey" tint, although that could be the natural colour of KNO3 in its powdery form.

 

The reason this concerns me is: What if, say, a little tiny bit of those micronized bits of aluminum powder got into the black powder while I was milling it, causing it to be sensitive to shock, causing my hands to come-off while I ram a black powder rocket engine?

 

Should I be concerned about this? How can I clean-out my ball-mill drum of this "stuck" residue? Should I just buy an entirely new rubber jar?

 

Or, alternatively, is there a way to ram BP rockets with a hammer and mallet without holding the tube with your hand? I might just put it in between two XL bricks or something.


Edited by OblivionFall, 17 July 2017 - 11:45 PM.

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#2 Mumbles

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 12:02 AM

The shields are primarily for more sensitive rocket compositions like whistles and strobes.  It never hurts to have an extra layer of protection for BP rockets though.

 

Yes, there is a risk to ramming by hand, but everything in pyrotechnics has a risk.  Yes, a 1" motor going off in your hand would be devastating.  I have pictures of a friend that had this happen to him with a BP rocket about 11 or 12 years ago.  He basically has a thumb, pinky, and a couple knuckles.  We still don't know the cause, but best guess it was static.

 

If you're concerned about aluminum in your jar I would replace it. If you're concerned about ramming it do you really want to be milling it in the first place?  

 

The grey color of your nitrate is definitely not the natural color of powdered nitrate.  It's a clear crystalline product which forms a pure white powder when clean.  More than likely it's contamination from residual charcoal, or from media wear.  The media wear is very common if you use lead media.  Even the hardest stuff has a slight contamination.  

 

There isn't a great way to ram without holding the tube.  It really helps to guide your hammer strikes.  You could try a clamshell type support as probably the second best option.  If one of those popped you might have bigger issues.  


Just so you guys quit asking, here is the link to the old forum. http://www.xsorbit2....forum/index.cgi

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#3 Maserface

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 08:18 AM

The "safest" way to ram a BP rocket is to wear a welding glove on the hand that is holding the rocket, safety glasses (of course), and minimizing exposure to flammable materials in case an ignition were to occur; always cover the composition container while ramming or pressing.



#4 dagabu

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 09:40 AM

I go to two hospitals every month to provide peer to peer assistance with other burn survivors and we get a LOT of firefighters joining us. Rockets etc are not the only thing that will remove fingers but the ability of doctors to save a hand is in keeping it all there in close proximity and the time between the incident and the start of surgery.

 

Some very frank discussions over the last four years yielded this advice collaboratively for fireworkers holding the tube when pounding rockets.

1. Wear a high quality, close fitting leather glove on your hand. A double palm is even better.

2. Wear cotton clothing, a cotton sweatshirt over a cotton T-shirt is a good choice.

3. NEVER use ice, water or butter, salve etc if you do get burned. Wrap it moderately loosely and get to a Burn Center. Not an emergency room, a Burn Center. Your care will be vastly different in one then the other.

4. Seconds count. Leave the glove on, wrap it up, go to a burn center, get into the surgical sweet ASAP. Leave a hospital and go to another one if they will not give you the care you need. 

5. Do not have expectations about the outcome, everybody heals differently, you may come out without a scar, you may lose a hand. 

 

Not a bad idea to wear a face shield too.


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#5 OblivionFall

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 09:44 AM

If you're concerned about aluminum in your jar I would replace it. If you're concerned about ramming it do you really want to be milling it in the first place?

Good thing my buddy is crazy at building shit. I think I'll make another drum to replace it, idk where to buy another 3lb jar. Or maybe I'll just build an entire new ball mill.


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#6 nater

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 10:08 AM

Dag, with all due respect if the burn center is not part of a trauma center and the injury involves an explosion, the burn docs will want the patient to be cleared by trauma docs before accepting them.

Call 911, let us help you make the decision for the most appropriate destination. Besides, I have an assortment of sedatives and pain meds that can make the ride easier.
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#7 OblivionFall

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 10:30 AM

I go to two hospitals every month to provide peer to peer assistance with other burn survivors and we get a LOT of firefighters joining us. Rockets etc are not the only thing that will remove fingers but the ability of doctors to save a hand is in keeping it all there in close proximity and the time between the incident and the start of surgery.

 

Some very frank discussions over the last four years yielded this advice collaboratively for fireworkers holding the tube when pounding rockets.

1. Wear a high quality, close fitting leather glove on your hand. A double palm is even better.

2. Wear cotton clothing, a cotton sweatshirt over a cotton T-shirt is a good choice.

3. NEVER use ice, water or butter, salve etc if you do get burned. Wrap it moderately loosely and get to a Burn Center. Not an emergency room, a Burn Center. Your care will be vastly different in one then the other.

4. Seconds count. Leave the glove on, wrap it up, go to a burn center, get into the surgical sweet ASAP. Leave a hospital and go to another one if they will not give you the care you need. 

5. Do not have expectations about the outcome, everybody heals differently, you may come out without a scar, you may lose a hand. 

 

Not a bad idea to wear a face shield too.

It's been a while so it's nice to refresh my memory on general safety tips. thx.


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#8 dagabu

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 01:33 PM

Dag, with all due respect if the burn center is not part of a trauma center and the injury involves an explosion, the burn docs will want the patient to be cleared by trauma docs before accepting them.

Call 911, let us help you make the decision for the most appropriate destination. Besides, I have an assortment of sedatives and pain meds that can make the ride easier.

 

Of course, from an EMT, Emergency Services standpoint, you are 100% correct, I hope I didn't come off suggesting otherwise. 


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#9 nater

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 05:05 PM

I only brought it up because we have 5 hospitals in my city. 2 of them are level 2 trauma centers and a third has the region's burn center in it. The burn center is not on the same campus as either trauma center. The next closest burn centers are 2 hours away by ground and about 45 minutes by air.

I would hate to see someone delay care while trying to figure out where the closest burn center is. Now for burns of any severity, with no other mechanism of injury - the burn center is the place to be ASAP. I've had to take a fellow firefighter directly there as well as other patients.

Edited by nater, 18 July 2017 - 05:08 PM.

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#10 dagabu

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 10:25 AM

We are indeed spoiled, Regions and HCMC are both Level 1 Trauma Centers with Burn Units in the same building. Trauma and Burns are quite synonymous in these hospitals.

 

We had a meeting last night and the firefighter I work with the most told me that the trauma surgeons are saw bones and the burn surgeons are savers. He believes that the outcome is very different depending on the focus of the team working on you. I have no comment about that since I got the Burn Docs in Triage and my outcome was outstanding! 

 

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Edited by dagabu, 19 July 2017 - 10:30 AM.

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#11 MrB

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 02:07 PM

Hell... We don't even HAVE "burn centers". Emergency care, or nothing.



#12 dagabu

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 03:04 PM

You have Lutefisk!


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#13 DavidF

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 05:45 PM

When I was about to get into rockets, there was an accident that left a man's hand badly mangled, and he got out of pyro because of it. I decided right then to be a 'presser'. But, if folks want to hand ram, there is no need to put the hand around the rocket. The mostly-ignored David Sleeter addresses that issue perfectly in both of his books.

 

Sleeter shows how to easily design the danger out of hand-ramming. His simple setup makes the tube stand up straight at the same time. If I was to hand-ram, I'd use slightly dampened propellant, and some version of Sleeter's concept.

 

Sleeter has the spindle and tube set up in a protective 'vee' with a hole in the top for the drifts. Aligning the spindle properly in the tube goes a long way towards preventing an ignition in the first place, IMHO.

 

EDIT: I have had good luck dissolving aluminum out of rubber jars with a solution of caustic soda (sodium hydroxide). 


Edited by DavidF, 19 July 2017 - 05:47 PM.


#14 MrB

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 07:04 PM

You have Lutefisk!

 

I'll try and find a can, when ever i need burn care the next time.



#15 OldMarine

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 07:11 PM

I don't think Lutefisk actually helps a burn, I think it simply entices the cats to debrade it! Or you could eat it and the taste would keep your mind off of the burn pain.

Seriously though, I've hand-rammed hundreds of rockets and as long as you make sure your spindle is centered (I use SLD's fuel leveler) and don't put metal bearing comp on the spindle I consider it as safe as possible. I do wear a welding glove on my tube holding hand and my usual face shield and Nomex hood since I have a substantial beard and long hair I'd like to keep.


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#16 nater

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 07:14 PM

Dag, you are fortunate up there. I am surprised my hospital does not have a burn center with our other speciality services, but another facility has provided burn and wound care for quite some time. There was probably no need to duplicate the service for our region.
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#17 dagabu

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 08:49 PM

Yes, we are indeed!


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#18 DavidF

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 09:42 PM

Sleeter rocket book excerpt 007
 
This is what I was talking about. Sorry the picture is so small, computer is not my first language.
 
EDIT: you can just click on it to make it bigger.

Edited by DavidF, 19 July 2017 - 11:00 PM.


#19 dagabu

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Posted 19 July 2017 - 11:27 PM

 

I'll try and find a can, when ever i need burn care the next time.

 

My dad had skunks take up residency under his porch some years back so thinking quick, he threw the left over Lutefisk under there. 

The skunks left right away but now he cant get rid of the Norwegians!


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#20 Ubehage

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Posted 21 July 2017 - 03:59 PM

Seeing as that Ned Gorski has a large 2" poly-kevlar-whatever-its-called barrier between him and his hydraulic presses when he's pressing rocket motors in case of the "accidental explosion", why doesn't he take similar precautions when ramming rockets by hand?  

  

Is there a risk involved when ramming black powder rockets by hand? Would a 1" rocket motor exploding in your hands not be devastating?

In one of his videos, Ned explains his reasoning behind this:

If an ignition occur while hand-ramming a rocket, the rammer will be blown out of the tube and a regular explosion seems less likely.

Whereas when he uses his power-press, the rammer has nowhere to go. And in case of ignition, it can only explode.


Blowing shit up is not a goal in itself. Seeing your device working the way you intended, is the greatest satisfaction of all.






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